Shaqiri earns Swiss opening win
Xherdan Shaqiri earned Switzerland three points against hosts Denmark at the European Under 21 Championship.
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 11/06/11 10:44pm
A magnificent individual goal by Xherdan Shaqiri was enough for Switzerland to spoil the party against hosts Denmark at the European Under 21 Championship.
The Danes could not have asked for a tougher assignment having not beaten Switzerland, who impressed in the build-up to the tournament, at this level for 26 years.
Following an uneventful first half at the Energi Nord Arena in Aalborg, the Swiss started the second period on the front foot and deservedly took the lead after 48 minutes.
The experienced Shaqiri, who plays his club football for FC Basel, broke the deadlock thanks to a moment of real magic.
He picked up the ball halfway inside the Swiss half before ghosting away from three players before slotting his left-foot strike across Mikkel Andersen's desperate dive.
However, Denmark were not overawed by the Swiss dominance and came close to restoring parity on three occasions.
Firstly, defender Andreas Bjelland's stabbed effort was parried by Yann Sommer at his near post.
Minutes later the goalkeeper was called into action once again, making a fine reaction save to deny Daniel Wass.
Swiss stopper Sommer was there again to deny substitute Henrik Dalsgaard with three minutes remaining.
And the Danes thought they had earned a deserved point with the last kick of the game when Nicki Bille slotted the ball into the top corner, but the assistant referee had already raised his flag for offside, much to the anger of the home supporters.
Hosts Denmark now face a crucial encounter against Belarus on Tuesday while Switzerland take on Iceland knowing that victory would practically assure them of a spot in the semi-finals.